Transportation headlines, Friday, Feb. 12

One of the pedestrian plazas carved out of Broadway in Times Square. Credit: New York City

Remember earlier this year when New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg did the unthinkable and closed down parts of Broadway in Times Square and Herald Square and converted them into pedestrian plazas? He made the changes permanent on Thursday, reports the New York Times. Broadway cuts diagonally across the city and the hope was that traffic would be improved on area streets. As it turns out, there were some improvements, but nothing epic. But pedestrian and motorist injuries have decreased, a majority of area retailers like the plazas and walking traffic in both squares has risen. The above video was produced by New York City to explain the program and here’s the link to more info on the program on Bloomberg’s website. I like the program for no other reason than it was bold and initially politically unpopular.

Another good story in the NYT: What’s the best way to pacify unruly teens on long rides on a school bus? Install wi-fi and the noise of rowdy teenagers rolling through the far suburbs of Tucson is replaced by the gentle tapping of keyboards. Yes, the students may be shooting online zombies with machine guns, but at least they’re not punching the seat in front of them.

Although not directly related to traffic, NYT columnist Timothy Egan visits the emptying exurbs far outside the San Francisco metro area — he calls them slumburbia — and comes to two conclusions: 1) With California’s tax system broken, suburban spawl was encouraged by desperate cities chasing tax dollars and allowing rampant development, and; 2) West Coast cities with stricter land-use rules have fared much better in the recession.

The rest of today’s transportation headlines, from the Metro library, await you after the jump.

Anatomy Of A Bikeway: L.A.’s Abandoned Class 1 Bike Path
Biking In LA

Bad Traffic Not Exclusive To L.A. Freeways
USC Daily Trojan

The Bicycle Grief: In The Quest For Bike-Friendly Cities, Are Snobby Cyclists Their Own Worst Enemies?
American Prospect

Bipartisan Senate Jobs Bill Has Highway Trust Fund Rescue But No TIGER
DC StreetsBlog

DOT A Leader In OpenGov
(initiative lays out the Administration’s view of what transparent, collaborative, and participatory government will look like when it’s pushed out to the departments. Users are encouraged to submit ideas on ways to improve USDOT and vote on their favorites)
U.S. DOT Fast Lane Blog
Open DOT: Share Your Ideas

Electric Bikes Face Long Road In U.S.
USA Today

Expo Light Rail Project Moves Down The Line After Construction Authority OKs EIR

Governor’s Plan Would Shield Projects From Lawsuit
Palm Springs Desert Sun

Korea Eyes $45 Billion Train Deal In US (California high-speed rail)
Korea Times

L.A. Sees 29% Jump In Bike Thefts, Prompting Some Vigilante Justice: Downtown L.A., Parts Of Hollywood, Venice And The USC Campus Area Are Hot Spots As Nearly 2,000 Bicycles Are Reported Stolen In 2009
Los Angeles Times

LA Sheriffs Get High-Tech Screening Vessel, Helicopter For Port Security
Southern California Public Radio

Long Beach On The Path To Becoming A Top “Bike Friendly” City
Travelin’ Local

Midtown Pedestrian Mall Gets Green Light (New York’s Times Square and Herald Square traffic projects to become permanent as Mayor Michael Bloomberg cites increased safety and public acceptance)
Crain’s New York Business

New Campaign Aims To Keep People Off The Tracks
San Francisco Chronicle
Common Sense, Use It (railroad safety tips)

OCTA Approves Study Of 405 Widening Project
Daily Pilot

Opinion: Slumburbia
New York Times

Street Extensions Could Ease Traffic In East Pasadena, Officials Say
Pasadena Star-News

Supervisor Won’t Drop His Call For MTA Audit: Ridley-Thomas Going It Alone On Request
Los Angeles Daily News

Underground Inspiration
(The winner of the SHIFTboston Ideas Competition is a proposal to turn the unused Tremont Street Subway tunnel under Boston Common into a network of underground cultural venues)
Map, Layout, And More Information

Vancouver: An Olympic Urbanist Preview
Human Transit

Who’s Dependent On Cars? Try Mass Transit
New Geography

Wi-Fi Turns Rowdy Bus Into Rolling Study Hall
New York Times

Women, Transit, And The Perception Of Safety (interview with UCLA professor of urban planning Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, author of a study of 120 Los Angeles bus stops, environmental attributes, and crime who urges planners to incorporate women’s voices into planning processes)

Wrap-Up: Bruins For Traffic Relief Party
Be A Green Commuter

Categories: Transportation News